Shrimp Fra Diavolo

published Jul 27, 2022
Fra Diavolo Recipe

A spicy tomato-based sauce studded with luscious pieces of jumbo shrimp and seasoned with lots of fresh oregano and garlic.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 7 1/2 cups

Prep10 minutes to 12 minutes

Cook42 minutes to 45 minutes

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A photo of a red Fra Diavlo sauce with shrimp
Credit: Laura Rege

Don’t open up a jar of marinara: Fra diavolo is a spicy tomato sauce that comes together almost as quickly and tastes so much better. Plus, you can’t get that fresh seafood flavor and pieces of shrimp from anything jarred. This spicy-tomato based sauce makes enough to coat one full pound of pasta.  

What Does Fra Diavolo Mean?

Fra diavolo literally translates to “among the devil,” but also translates to “brother devil,” which was the nickname of 18th century Neopolitan guerrilla leader Michele Pezza. If you’re talking about food, however, it generally refers to a spicy Italian-American tomato sauce prepared with seafood (usually lobster or shrimp) and finished with fresh herbs.

Credit: Laura Rege

What Does Fra Diavolo Taste Like?

Fra diavolo is a slightly spicy red tomato sauce with the fresh seafood flavor of shrimp or lobster. Oregano, garlic, and olive oil are other signature flavors.

What’s the Difference Between Arrabbiata and Fra Diavolo?

Both of these spicy red sauces are prepared similarly, but arrabbiata tends to be more like a marinara whereas fra diavolo has the addition of seafood — typically shrimp or lobster. Fra diavolo also usually has white wine or brandy in the sauce, whereas arrabbiata does not. 

Fra Diavolo Recipe

A spicy tomato-based sauce studded with luscious pieces of jumbo shrimp and seasoned with lots of fresh oregano and garlic.

Prep time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Cook time 42 minutes to 45 minutes

Makes about 7 1/2 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 4 cloves


  • 4 sprigs

    fresh parsley

  • 4 sprigs

    fresh oregano

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    extra-large peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    red pepper flakes

  • 3/4 cup

    dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans

    whole peeled tomatoes


  1. Finely chop 1 small yellow onion (about 1 heaping cup). Peel and mince 4 garlic cloves. Pick leaves from 4 sprigs fresh parsley and finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons. Pick the leaves from 4 fresh oregano sprigs and finely chop until you have 1 teaspoon.

  2. Pat 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined extra-large shrimp dry with paper towels. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shrimp and cook, turning a few times, until golden-brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the same pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and light golden-brown, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup dry white wine, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by half, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the oregano, 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes and their juices, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes into smaller pieces (alternatively, pulse the tomatoes into a food processor until finely chopped before adding). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes.

  5. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the pan and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the parsley and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Serve over 1 pound cooked pasta if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.